The city of Gold Coast in Queensland has been presented with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant.

As part of the grant, the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) will receive assistance from a team of six IBM experts for three weeks sometime this year.

The pro bono engagement will enable GCCC officials to analyse data and canvass feedback from across the community to find ways to improve the city's public safety disaster response capabilities. By working together with the vendor's experts, IBM Australia corporate citizenship and affairs manager, Miranda Scarff, said a set of recommendations on boosting efficiency can be compiled ahead of the city hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"The grant was awarded on the basis of Gold Coast Council's strong leadership and demonstrable track record in forward-thinking initiatives," she said.

"We're looking forward to working with the Gold Coast to develop recommendations to assist one of Australia's most iconic tourism hotspots."

Queensland leadership

The Gold Coast is the second city in Queensland to be awarded a Smarter Cities Challenge grant after Townsville won the inaugural prize in 2011, while Geraldton in Western Australia won the 2012 honour.

"We consider it a privilege to share with the Gold Coast the talent and expertise of our employees in a range of disciplines, all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet," Scarff said.

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge was launched in 2011 as a three-year, US$50-million competitive grant program spanning 100 cities, which Scarff said makes it IBM's single largest philanthropic initiative.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.